Trocadero cites Ticketmaster fees in bankruptcy filing

The Trocadero Theatre, the Chinatown rock-and-roll venue where (as my colleague Dan DeLuca reminds me) Death Cab for Cutie recently played and Peter, Bjorn + John and James Blake are scheduled for shows in the next couple of weeks, and where (as a veteran editor reminds me) strippers Lili St. Cyr, Gypsy Rose Lee and Blaze Starr wowed 'em in the days before naked women danced free on the Internet, has filed for bankruptcy protection.

Joon Associates Inc. and its President, Joanna Pang, asked for court permission to reorganize the Troc, lately a rock-and-roll concert venue, today in US Bankruptcy Court in Philadelphia "to obtain a breathing spell from creditors while it negotiates a restructuring of its debts" according to the petition (US BC E.Pa. 11-16432).

In her filing, Pang notes the high cost of cutting Ticketmaster a share of the proceeds for every show in the face of declining sales, along with declining ticket sales and unrelated litigation costs, for a cash flow squeeze that has started to delay workers' paychecks.

Since 2008 the Troc has paid Ticketmaster $3 per ticket for every ticket under $10, up to $8.50 on tickets above $50, according to the filing. Sales through Ticketmaster have fallen under that contract, since it's cheaper to buy them in person at the Troc box office, according to Pang's statement. "Other ticketing agencies" could do the job cheaper, she added. Bankruptcy courts often allow cash-strapped companies to break contracts and negotiate cheaper deals. Ticketmaster spokeswoman Jacqueline Patterson didn't immediately return a call seeking comment.

The Troc grossed $2.3 million in 2008 and $2.1 million in 2009, according to the filing.